Everyone seems to agree: a white smile is a beautiful smile. A whopping 96 percent of those who responded to an American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry survey said people look more attractive with a white smile. So it’s no wonder there are multiple ways to achieve this desired state. You’ll find several ways to whiten teeth at Village Dental Care, one of which will be right for you.
So how do you decide? There are multiple factors to consider, including:
- Kinds of Stains on Your Teeth – Some kinds of stains respond well to whitening treatments while others do not.
- Overall Condition of Your Teeth – If your teeth have other imperfections such as chips or gaps, you may want to consider a treatment that can correct those issues too.
- Frequency of Treatment – Whitening treatments must be repeated regularly to maintain a bright smile. If you’d rather not bother with this, you may want a more permanent solution.
- Cost of Treatment – While whitening treatments are the most affordable option, the costs of repeated treatments will add up over time. Again, if you can simultaneously solve other cosmetic issues with another procedure, you won’t have to worry about any added expense if and when you decide to further improve your smile.
Dr. Michael Hardcastle is happy to answer all of your questions about the different ways to whiten teeth during a cosmetic consultation. Call (972) 440-1980 today to schedule one. In the meantime, we’ve provided some information for you to consider.
Why the Kind of Dental Staining Matters
Dr. Hardcastle may encourage you to consider a method other than teeth whitening treatments, depending on the kind of discoloration you have. Whitening treatments are most effective on:
- Certain Kinds of Stains – Staining that only affects the outer layer of tooth enamel, called extrinsic staining, responds best to whitening treatments. Intrinsic stains, where the inside of your tooth has darkened or changed color, typically won’t respond as well to whitening.
- Certain Shades of Enamel – Teeth with yellow/brown undertones are usually easier to brighten than teeth with gray/green tones.
- Younger Teeth – Teeth whitening is also less effective if your tooth enamel is thin, which happens as you get older.
It Often Makes Sense to Try Teeth Whitening First
Still, it often makes sense to try our most conservative – and least costly – teeth whitening method first. We use whitening treatments from KöR, a brand that offers many advantages over other whitening.
Unlike other products, their treatments are kept refrigerated from the point of manufacture until they are used on your teeth. The bleaching ingredients in other products break down and become less effective when exposed to temperature extremes in warehouses and on freight trucks. Because of this, KöR can be effective on even tough stains like those caused by overuse of tetracycline.
KöR offers multiple ways to whiten teeth and address different levels of staining. Some are applied at our office, and others are used at home. For the most effective results, we recommend office whitening followed by maintenance treatments at home.
Drugstore Whitening Yields Disappointing Results
If you’re tempted to just go and buy a home whitening kit at your favorite drugstore, you may want to reconsider. Those products are:
- Less Effective – If you can buy them at a store, they contain a lower percentage of whitening ingredients than our professional whitening treatments. Because of substances added to keep them shelf stable, they are also more likely to irritate your teeth and/or gums.
- Harder to Use – Drugstore kits involve either messy strips or flimsy trays, neither of which will give you the kind of complete coverage you’ll get from KöR’s trademarked whitening trays. That’s right; the trays are so good, they’ve been trademarked!
Consider Two Other Ways to Whiten Teeth
Stubborn stains that don’t respond well to whitening treatments can be covered up instead. We’ll typically suggest one of these two other ways to whiten teeth.
These custom-made restorations cover the entire front surfaces of teeth. They can modify the shape and/or size of your teeth in addition to the color. So it’s possible to use them to give your smile an entirely new appearance! We use veneers made of a special high-quality porcelain called e.max that looks like natural tooth enamel. It is also highly durable and stain resistant, which means they should look great for up to 20 years – or even longer. Dr. Hardcastle will remove a tiny amount of enamel from your teeth before bonding your veneers in place.
A tooth bonding treatment is an alternative to veneers. It is more affordable and can be completed in a single appointment – unlike veneers, which typically require two or three office visits. Dr. Hardcastle will apply tooth-colored composite – the same material used for our fillings – to your teeth to conceal staining and other flaws. He’ll then “cure” it with a special blue light. It is more prone to staining than veneers and not as durable, so it won’t last as long. Many factors will affect its longevity, which can typically be anywhere from three years to 10 years.
Call us at (972) 440-1980 if you want to schedule an appointment to talk about ways to whiten teeth.